Credit to: Honor Everywhere/StoryUP via Mettle

In a digital world, it’s easy to get weighed down and distracted by the news, emails, online trolls and our personal lives, among other things. StoryUP a brain-powered story, experience, and mindfulness VR app that’s designed to deflate stressful emotional states and restore the power of positivity one person at a time.

How It Started

StoryUP was created in 2015 when the company’s founders learned that World War II veterans were physically unable to make a trip to see military memorials due to terminal illness. Pioneering veteran foundations like Honor Everywhere used virtual reality to help aging and ill veterans see the military memorials honoring the lost servicemen and women who fought beside them without ever having to leave their own home.

Honor Everywhere’s empowering the use of VR inspired the founders of StoryUP, sparking interest in the variety of emotional reactions that came from using VR with war veterans. In 2016, Dr. Jeff Tarrant and virtual story weaver Sarah Hill joined forces to study emotional brainwave patterns and how they can change for the positive when stimulated by a VR experience, sparking the creation of StoryUP.

Power Of Positivity

Waking up in a bad mood and overthinking happens to everyone, but what if stress, anxiety, or life circumstances like illness took over your once resilient mindset. If our thoughts are preoccupied, what does a person do to offset those feelings? Meditate! Be mindful! That’s what.

Taking a moment to sit and breathe can seem like an obvious solution, but StoryUP’s app and mindfulness videos will work alongside the viewer to promote positive and calming feelings. The VR videos, like their Blufftop Mindfulness Experience, are shot in nature with beautiful 360-degree views, complete with wrap around nature sounds found in that exact environment. The gentle voice guiding the viewer is there to help the mind refocus, unwind, or de-stress from what the viewer is feeling or going through in their life, even if it is for a few minutes.

Dr. Tarrant, StoryUp’s Chief VR Psychologist studied the effects using meditation had on their participants. In a Virtual Reality Pop article, he stated, “Overall, the results showed a significant quieting of the brain after experiencing the brief VR meditation” and that “This, by itself, was impressive given the relatively brief exposure to the meditation.” After meditating, the meditators brains showed blood flow changes and activations in the brain that suggested that “the person [was] not thinking about themselves (or their worries) as much”, which is great news for worried and anxious people.

Reigniting Empathy

Watching the news, it’s easy to get lost in translation, put up a wall, or react to tragedy with “I’m glad that’s not anyone I know” or “What can I do?” I know I’m guilty. Well, what if we could all stop being so disconnected from humanity for a second, turn off the TV, and watch stories, uplifting and powerful stories about bravery and resilience? The StoryUP app is waking us up and restoring our empathy one story at a time, one mindset at a time. You’ll want to keep a tissue close by.

Their stories, like Changing the Face of Courage: Women in Military Service, pay homage to courageous female war veterans at the Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. Sharing these veteran’s stories and reflections on their time in the military were captured in 360 VR video for viewers to experience what it was like to stand at the memorial and look around the museum inside. This video not only helped veterans leave a story about their experience behind for others to see, they helped veterans at home or in hospice care get to experience the Women’s Memorial if they were too sick to see it in real life.

StoryUP has amazing and heart changing videos like Congo: Empowered by Light, that will take you to all the way across the world to Africa. With beautiful aerial scenes of the Congo and shots of gorillas, it’s easy to get swept away by nature. On a trip to Virunga National Park and local impoverished villages, viewers can see firsthand the effects of a lack of electricity on agriculture business has on the people living there. The story enlightens viewers on the necessity of solar power for these suffering villages and how it’s development could help people there and around the world. Empathy restored.

VR Compatibility

StoryUP is compatible with Oculus Rift, is on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and is coming soon to Daydream, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation.

VR Inspiration

Empathy and mindfulness for ourselves and others are qualities that everyone can benefit from. Like the saying goes, kindness goes a long way. StoryUP is helping us reconnect to our joyous, grateful, inspired and empathetic selves one outlook at a time. Will you join their empathy and mindfulness movement?